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Staff Sergeant Mark A. Wojciechowski

They're always so stark, the notifications.

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The following Marines died April 30 while supporting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq:

Sgt.. James R. McIlvaine, 26, of Olney, Md.
Staff Sgt. Mark A. Wojciechowski, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sgt. McIlvaine was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Staff Sgt. Wojciechowski was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

What's missing is the context that goes with the names.  The faces, the friends, the families.  The dreams, the hopes, the fears.  The fact that there's an empty seat at the table.  Literally.

An empty seat at the table.

And it's someone you should know.

Hey guys,

You may not remember me...but I wrote an email a while back asking about a quote from thucylides about the scholar and the warrior. I asked this because I had 4 Marine EOD "bubbas" living across the street from me at the time and me being of the educated sect and they being of the warrior sect we had some great discussions. My father in law was Force Recon so I was given a "briefing" before taking his daughter's hand.

The reason I write this letter is that one of them went up to Fiddler's Green from Al-Anbar on Thursday. His name was SSgt Tony Wojciechowski, he was 25 and was from Cincinatti. This kid could light up a room with his smile and personality. My kids absolutely adored him."Tony Baloney!" they would scream when ever they saw him.

My wife and I are heartbroken that we won't get to see that All-American smile ever again and watch him fall in love from afar and raise his children. As I told my wife tonight I am crushed that I will never get to see that face and smile again. He was a good man. He was squared away.

Please see the attached picture and please do him the proper honors of being presented to "The Green." 
God Speed Tony Baloney!

Indeed.  I think he's going to fit in right well, if altogether too early.  I'm sure he won't mind the wait for his poker buddies.  Let's see...

Staff Sergeant Mark A. Wojciechowski, aka "Tony Baloney," inbound to Fiddler's Green.  He's gonna fit right in.

Oh, yeah.  He'll fit in well.  Break out another stool down there, Tony Baloney, inbound!

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam 

Update: This came in on my Facebook page:

Subject: Recent losses

Here's what I sent out yesterday when another John called to see if I could provide some help.

Pissed I couldn't do more and yet glad I got the call...again.

Desert Sailor

Today had two striking opposites.

We started the day by conducting a duty that is now in year two for us. This duty will continue for others that follow in their duty station to Halifax just as it rolled to us when came here. We cleaned up Deadman's Island the last resting place of 188 POWs from the War of 1812.

This year was easier than last because mother nature was kind over the winter. Plus last year's effort saw a major plus up in the overall condition of the island. A group of local Sea Cadets helped a handful of USN guys and my family pick up some scattered trash, do some light raking, sanding off graffiti, etc...

Then we came home to an email from an old friend, a shipmate, who's daughter just found out she had lost the love of her life.

I regret only being limited to the connections I currently can employ to gain information for Rose. But I did what little I could do in hopes that the word would get out and she will receive the needed touch she so desperately should have.

Thursday, in Iraq, outside Fallujah, three Americans gave their life to freedom's cause. Two Marines and one Sailor died while conducting bomb clearance duties.

Staff Sgt. Mark A. Wojciechowski, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Staff Sgt. "Tony" Wojciechowski was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Sgt. James R. McIlvaine, 26, of Olney, Md.

Sgt. McIlvaine was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler J. Trahan, 22, of East Freetown, Mass., died on

April 30 while conducting combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq. EOD2 Trahan was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit Twelve in Norfolk, Va., and was deployed with an East Coast based Navy SEAL team.

I didn't know Tony. Didn't have to. If he loved Rose as much as his Dad thinks, then that tells me where that Marine's heart and head were centered. Say a prayer for Rose and Tony tonight...they'll both hear it I sure.

He'll look down upon Rose and her family and watch over them. Cause that's what our fallen do, they protect us from above.

Desert Sailor

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Tells from BLACKFIVE on May 4, 2009 9:57 AM

Godspeed, Staff Sergeant Mark "Tony Baloney" Wojciechowski. Pull up to the table. Here's some hints for you: Schrambo never told a lie in his whole life - he can't bluff. I always felt bad taking his money (took it anyway...)... Read More


Absent Friends
Thanks for that John!  Check your FB inbox too.  As is usual, "The Family" grows.
Three enroute, FG Vulture Det. Frank and Bill, find a spot at the poker table for Tony...
Rest in Peace, Marine
Semper Fidelis.
Rest in peace Warrior.
For The Family of Staff Sgt. Mark Anthony Wojciechowski

Although we’ve never met, my wife Cathy, daughters Sarah and Rose would like to convey our deepest condolences for the loss of Tony.
I feel how meager and unfulfilling any words of mine which would attempt to ease your grief of a loss so devastating. But I cannot refrain from offering you the comfort that may be found in the thanks of all the Americans who believe in the principals and freedoms of which Tony defended.
We met Tony last winter when he came to visit with Rose. Even though our meeting was brief, we all fell in love with Tony from the very beginning. We admired him greatly and will wholly miss him in our lives.
“I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. “
Abraham Lincoln
We Share Your Grief And Pray That God Blesses Your Family In This Time Of Sorrow.

John, Cathy, Rose and Sarah Walter
Aurora, Colorado

May Lord give their families and loved ones His love and strength in these difficult times
What Olga said.
Take him and keep him, and watch over those left behind.
I did not know your son, but my daughter, Kaleigh, is Rose's roommate, and she has told me what kind of young man he was.  I was so very grieved to hear of his death.  I want to express the appreciation of myself and my family for the supreme sacrifice your son has made on behalf of our country and our freedom.  We believe in what he was doing, and that it has and will continue to have inestimable value.  May God hold you close in the days ahead.
Also, if you want to leave a message for Sgt. James R. McIlvaine's wife Sheryl, go to the, she is the member, sign up (it's free) then go to Unit specific 7th regiment. there is an entry for Sgt. McIlvaine there...  Same for Ssgt Wojciechowski...
Such terrible sacrifices laid upon Freedom's altar.   God rest their souls, hold the hearts of those who loved them, and eternally light their memories. 
May he be reborn again in joy...
He's from my county, not too far from where I live.. and graduated from the same high school as Matt Maupin.

It's going to be tough around here for the next couple of weeks.  Formal arrangements haven't been made yet, to the best of my knowledge, but when they are, I'm hoping to attend the ceremony.

Desert Sailor- I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.  He will be remembered as a hero in these parts.
My heart broke when I heard the news on Saturday. I babysat Tony for about three years when he was younger.  We lived next door to his family and he and my younger brother were best friends throughout grade and middle school.  Tony was such a unique and one-of-a-kind kid... I liked him much more than I liked my younger brother at the time!  He was so incredibly smart and mature for his age that it felt like I was talking to someone on my own age level, and not a kid five years younger than me.  He was genuinely funny, but never the kind of kid who got laughs at the expense of others.  When his sister was born, he was so thrilled to be a big brother and always took great care of her.  

That Tony became a respected Marine who signed up twice for deployment to Iraq does not surprise me in the slightest.  He was a great kid who grew to be an even greater man.     


I was very fortunate to know Tony. While he was assigned to Subase Bangor (Marine Corps Security Force), Tony dated my sister in law. From the first moment we met him, we loved him. He was a squared away young man, that was very polite and respectful. He quickly became a part of our family (so we put him in our wedding, too). I found myself competing for Tony's attention with Amy. Tony loved to join me at poker parties, endure mutual pranks, and spend lots of time outdoors hiking and playing. As a career firefighter with years under my belt, I looked up to Tony. He was a man's man!  I feel honored that he took up diving after we had made plans of diving together when he returned home. He regularly called and sent me (and my in-laws) pics, videos and artifacts (t-shirts, etc) from Iraq and his R&R destinations. It breaks my heart to lose such a great friend, but it is comforting to know that he has touched so many lives as he did ours.  He was a great man! I will never forget Tony "Wojo"!

Please feel free to contact me to share Tony stories. You can find me on facebook or email at

Tony Baloney,
God we miss you! Lily said today I'm happy for Tony..I could't imaging her thinking...she said well mom " he's in heaven, he's happy, and he get's to eat pizza and ice cream all the time." I can't stop thinking about your goofy will always be with me. We love you. You were a blessing in our lives and we will always be grateful for knowing you. May your parents know how much you were loved.

The Root Family

Tony wasn't just my high school sweetheart...he was my friend & a very proud marine! Tony has been a part of me since we first started dating in 1999. We were a couple all through high school. One of my best memories I have with Tony is when he flew me out to Seattle Washington back in November of 2003 for the Marine Anniversary Ball. I remember when we took a day to explore Seattle and we stopped at a market along the way and he bought me the best spelling flowers ever! He was such an amazing guy!  Tony and I ened up breaking up a couple months later because it was just so hard to keep a long distance relationship. At the time I didn't want to accept it...but I knew it was only for the best. Now when I look back I can accept it...but now it's just so hard to accept his death. I'm very thankful that Tony & I have remained friends. Tony was a very proud marine and he loved what he did! I also just received email from him a couple weeks ago saying he re-inlisted again. His family opened their arms to me...and even today they all fill a special place in my heart. I took on the nick name of "Big Tiff" because Tony's little sister's name is Tiffany as well. She has always been "Little Tiff".   I have been truely blessed to have such amazing people be a part of my life. Tony's mother Teresa and his step father Tony have always opened their home to me. I always have a good time when I'm there. However, Tony is now missing from the picture and it is still very hard for me to accept. I just wanted to take a minute to thank Tony & his family for being so wonderful! Our memories together will never be misplaced or forgotten.Thanks for fighting for our country. I miss & love you always & forever Tony! 
R.I.P "Wojo"
"Big Tiff"

"I don't understand the question"!!!!!

He is in a better place, now, a place where he feels no pain, a place where he waits, patiently, for his friends and family to join him.  Don't be in a hurry, friends and family, he has all eternity to wait for you.  Live your lives as he would have wanted you to live them.  God bless all who have lost on this day.
It is so wonderful to see the AWESOME support for our troops and this Staff Sarge.  I have read quite a bit on this young man and "WOW" is all I can say.  I wish I could give each and every one of his friends and family members a big hug, not only did they loose an awesome family member but America as a whole lost one of their best!  God speed to Tony and best wishes and prayers to friends and family members.  Take Care, Andrea